Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Burning the Human Body

Fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of mortality from unintentional injury in the United States, and they comprise the third leading cause of death due to injury in the home. The burned body assumes what appears to be a boxer's stance, resulting from the effects of heat on the muscle protein. A misconception often held by criminals is that fire will completely destroy a body in order to hide a crime. Despite severe burns and even charring, other injuries—whether blunt, sharp, or related firearms—can usually be found in burned bodies by cut-down of the soft tissues, radiography, and internal examination. In this sense, attempts by criminals to disguise prefire homicidal injuries by setting the environs of the body on fire or by burning the body itself usually fail miserably.

Hours of exposure to temperatures over 2000°F are typically required to cremate a human body, and most set fires on a body and most house fires do not achieve those conditions, even with accelerant use, especially if firefighting activities begin soon after the fire is started or discovered. 

Police in Mato Verde investigate a charred body near the BR-122 highway that connects the North Mine in northeast Brazil. Witnesses at the site could smell both smoke and burning flesh. The remains were buried in a shallow grave in the cemetery of the town of Mato Verde. - LINK


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